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Masculinity and Gender-Based Violence in Rwanda

Slegh, H. and A. Kimonyo (2010). Masculinity and Gender-Based Violence in Rwanda: Experiences and perceptions of men and women. Kigali, Rwanda MenEngage Network. http://www.promundo.org.br/en/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/IMAGES-Rwanda.pdf
RWAMREC in collaboration with the Rwanda Men Engage Network is pleased to present this report which shows the results of the first national household survey ever done in Rwanda on perceptions about masculinity and GBV. The study, conducted from January 2010 to June 2010, examined the roots of GBV in relation to perceptions about masculinity within Rwandan society. This quantitative and qualitative research explored the experiences and opinions of men and women with relativity to how men are supposed to act and behave according to the socio-cultural norms and val ues in Rwanda.

The quantitative instrument was adapted from IMAGES, a multi-country survey with women and men on attitudes toward gender equality, as well as behaviors and attitudes related to sexual and reproductive health, maternal and child health, GBV, fatherhood; men’s attitudes toward women and toward gender equality; and men’s attitudes toward various policies related to gender equality.
IMAGES is coordinated by the ICRW and Promundo, and was developed in partnership with the Center for Gender Studies-University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway; El Colgio de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico; the MRC, Pretoria, South Africa; CulturaSalud, Santiago, Chile; Partners for Prevention: A United Nations Joint Program for Ending VAW in Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand; the Center for Education, Counseling and Research, Zagreb, Croatia; and RWAMREC, Kigali, Rwanda. As of 2010, IMAGES had been applied in Brazil, Mexico, India, Croatia, Chile, South Africa (as part of a separate study on men, health and violence coordinated by the MRC), in addition to Rwanda.

The overall goal of IMAGES is to add to our understanding of men’s behaviors and attitudes – and changes in those attitudes and behaviors – to inform, drive and monitor policy development to promote gender equality by engaging men and women in such policies. The IMAGES questionnaire builds on existing instruments, heavily drawing on the “Questionnaire on Gender Equality and Quality of Life” developed by the Norwegian Ministry of Gender Equality and Children Affairs, along with items for the WHO multi-country study on VAW; the GEM scale developed by Population Council and Promundo; and by surveys on sexual violence and physical violence against women carried out by the MRC.

The analysis of the qualitative and quantitative data focuses on identification of particular aspects in society that contribute to violent behavior towards women and girls and negative perceptions about masculinity. This study explores the prevailing opinions about manhood in Rwanda and examines how these perceptions, constructed and transmitted in the current society, are related to GBV. The study, presented in this report, shows how different factors in Rwandan society play a key role in “making men” and explains how these factors contribute to the fact that many men use violence towards their female partners. The findings provide important implications for the development of new strategies to tackle VAW with the involvement of men and boys.

The report includes four parts: the first part describes the problem of GBV in Rwanda and links the study to other international studies about masculinity and GBV. The second part explains the methodology and research process. The third part presents the main results. The last part concludes with recommendations for the development of programs that contribute to bridging the identified gaps on perceptions about gender and masculinity in the daily life of women and men in Rwanda facing GBV.

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